Some of our favorite walks and hikes to get you out and exploring Encinitas!
April 19 - Moonlight Beach Park Trail
Did you know that Moonlight Beach technically extends all the way from the shore to Coast Highway 101, and includes one of the most interesting sections of trail to explore in town? Taking you from Coast Highway 101 at Encinitas Blvd/B Street along the Cottonwood Creek Watershed is a path that takes twists and turns, past wildflowers, ponds and palms, over bridges under which crawfish hide and eventually reaches the sand at Moonlight Beach, all within just a quarter mile.
This Walk Wednesday route is a great add-on to a visit to Moonlight Beach or downtown Encinitas. Interpretive signage along the way from start to finish tells the story of Cottonwood Creek and the natural processes and plants that filter water before it reaches the ocean, as well as the history of the area and wildlife and plants to spot along the way. Right now is an especially great time to get out there, since the wildflowers are brighter and more abundant than ever.
The out-and-back distance from the Moonlight Beach playground is just right for little ones, who will love to explore this one. Be sure to look close in the creek to spot crawfish and look for turtles popping their heads up in the deeper pond closest to Coast Highway 101.
We’d love to see your pics and hear about your experience. Share on social media and use the hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
April 12- Sun Vista Park Loop
This week’s Walk Wednesday takes you to Sun Vista Park, located at the east end of town at the corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and Avenida La Posta. The park features wide, not-too-hilly paths around the perimeter of the park, which is separated by a creek. The route shown here: http://www.mapmywalk.com/routes/view/1524455515 gets you a total distance of 0.4 miles, so you can easily do a few laps to add to it. The great thing about this route is that it’s very stroller and kid friendly, great for little ones to tag along on bikes and scooters.
Sun Vista Park is popular for its playground, lots of green grass and the fact that as far east as it is, it’s often warm and sunny on those days that the coast is socked in with clouds. Bring a picnic and enjoy the shaded gazebo area. Also, the park offers off-leash dog hours on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday 6am – 9am and 3pm - 8pm (east side of park only). Please obey all posted rules and stay out of the creek area. There are no restrooms at the park.
Now go do some laps! We’d love to see your pics and highlights, so share your experience on social media with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife and tag @cityofencinitas too!
April 5 – Neptune Avenue Adventure
This 4.6 mile out-and-back trek not only takes you from Moonlight Beach to the far north part of Leucadia for a great workout, but if you’re into it, can take you back in time to the ancient days of King Neptune, god of freshwater and the sea, who presided over the realms of Heaven and Earth, and plenty of other Greek gods and mythical figures. As the story goes, many of the Leucadia street names were given by early settler Nathan Eaton, English spiritualists, and developers with grand visions of a Greek-style resort town. Armed with a smart phone on this walk, you can learn a lot of cool stuff that will impress your friends!
The route mapped here starts at Moonlight Beach, where the facilities are always awesome, parking is generally abundant and you’ve got restrooms, showers and concessions to enjoy before or after your adventure. From Moonlight, head north toward the cul-de-sac of 5th Street, up the only real hill on this route, and continue north toward Neptune Ave. From there, it’s all straight as you head two miles north to the turnaround point at Grandview Beach, the end of the public street. For some extra toning and calorie burn, we challenge you to hit both sets of stairs (130 steps) at Stone Steps beach access (S. El Portal Street) and another 130 steps when you get to Grandview beach access. On this route, please use caution on Neptune Ave, since many sections are without sidewalks. There is ample room for walkers, runners and bikers. There are no drinking fountains along the way, so be sure to load up at Moonlight Beach before you go.
Now get out there and enjoy! We’d love to see your pics and highlights, so share your experience on social media with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife and tag @cityofencinitas too!
March 29- Encinitas Ranch Golf Course North
This week’s walk gets you out on a favorite of Encinitas Ranch locals. The 1.7 mile route has you travel the golf cart and pedestrian bridge which goes over Leucadia Blvd then head north along the ridgeline, with dramatic sandstone bluffs below and views to the east, before reaching a great shade gazebo, the perfect place to take a pause and view a couple of the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course’s most beautiful holes with the Pacific as a backdrop. From there, you’ll cross the golf course, still on City trails before reaching the home stretch along a mostly flat DG (decomposed granite) path which returns to Leucadia Blvd. From there, it’s downhill along the golf course to the starting point at the cart bridge.
This route is mostly flat, with the exception of a short, paved incline from the bridge to the ridgeline, then a downhill section of dirt path, where the trail crosses the golf course. Be sure to wear shoes with good traction. Also, stay on the path and obey all posted signs.
You can get to this loop from any direction, but we suggest you park and check out the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course Clubhouse and patio, a great place to have a bite or drink after your outing.
Now get out there and enjoy! With the right lighting and conditions, this route boasts some of the best views Encinitas has to offer. Share your experience on social media with hashtags Manchester Preserve, located just about a mile east from Interstate 5 in Cardiff is a 123-acre open space area that features miles of varied trails within a wide, sloping canyon. There are approximately 4 total miles of trails within the preserve, but the main loop we suggest is about 2 miles round-trip. Within the Preserve, you’ll find thick, lush coastal sage and chaparral. With dramatic, steep sandstone walls, you’ll find plenty of great spots for pictures and to take in views of the hills of southeast Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe. This time of year, especially after all the recent rain, expect to find flowers in bloom very soon. This week might be the perfect time to get out there!
The Preserve is just about a mile east of Interstate 5. A small trailhead parking area is located on Manchester Avenue just south of Trabert Ranch Road. From the parking/staging area, hit the trails and follow along the main power line, where the main trails climb up the canyon toward the highpoint. From the top of the Preserve, return along the same route, or explore other out-and-back trail segments. A word of caution- Manchester Preserve features some steep sections of trail with stair step features. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes with good traction and watch your step!
The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) manages the Preserve, while the City of Encinitas maintains the trails. Please obey all posted rules and stay on the trails to help protect the habitat. Also, as a reminder, while dogs make great hiking companions, on Encinitas trails, they must stay on leash at all times.
Now get out there and enjoy! Share your experience on social media with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife and tag @cityofencinitas too!
March 15- Oakcrest Park Open Space
This week’s walk is through the native open space located between the Encinitas Community Center and Oakcrest Park. This is a great walk to take with little ones who like to explore, since it’s short in distance and close to amenities, yet provides a cool outdoor experience. The quick .39 mile loop mapped here first takes you to an awesome overlook, where you can spot the trails below and catch a great view of the mountains to the north and east of Encinitas. From there, the trail drops down a few switchbacks before popping you out onto a wide, paved walking path before getting back on a marked dirt path which takes you to Oakcrest Park. Spend some time at the park, where there’s abundant shade, restrooms and places to play. From there, it’s back up the hill to the starting point.
This walk can be done in under 10 minutes if in a hurry, or spend some time enjoying the view and checking out the plants and critters (lizards, rabbits) and birds (spotted a hawk and a blue jay today).
We recommend that you start your walk at the Encinitas Community Center, located at 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive since there is plenty of parking and a beautiful facility, open 7 days a week. Passing through the lobby of the Community Center, head out the back doors and head up the steps to the right, where you’ll find the first footbridge which marks the start of the route. If you’re there while the Community Center is closed, just follow the pathway around the building from the parking lot and you’ll find the trail head just behind the gymnasium.
We hope you enjoy your time exploring the Oakcrest Park open space area. Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
March 8- Escondido Creek Trail
This week, we’re excited to get you back out on the trail. Since Escondido Creek flows all the way from the hills near Lake Wohlford west to San Elijo Lagoon, there are plenty of great places along the way to see it. Lucky for us, right here in Encinitas we have a great out-and-back hike, just shy of 2.75 miles that will take you right alongside it. Lace up your boots, bring some water and a camera, and enjoy a rugged walk along double and single track trail that climbs slightly before turning and dropping along the creek heading to the outskirts of town, where Encinitas (Olivenhain) meets Rancho Santa Fe.
To access this hike, drive Lone Jack Road, east from Rancho Santa Fe Road. As you travel Lone Jack, notice the City’s Little Oaks Equestrian Park on your right. Just a mile past, turn right onto Rancho Encinitas Drive and park curbside. To begin the hike, walk south along Brookside Lane to where it runs into Olivenhain Farms Road, where you’ll find the marked trail head. As the trail gets going, you’ll cross a creek alongside a bridge. Take a minute to notice that the bridge is made from a repurposed train car chassis. From there, the trail heads uphill and toward the canyon to the south, then along the creek bed.
Where the creek opens up to a fairly wide pool, shaded by mature trees, take a break before heading back. It’s a great spot to sit and take in the view, or have a picnic. From there, you can return to the start on the same route.
Check out the route on MapMyWalk here: http://www.mapmywalk.com/routes/view/1476420667
This one’s an adventure. Get out there and enjoy it! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
March 1- Explore Glen Park in Cardiff by the Sea
This week’s Walk Wednesday is a simple one; a stroll through the park, enjoying one of Encinitas’ very best, Glen Park in Cardiff by the Sea! Located on Orinda Drive, just across the railroad tracks from Coast Highway 101, Glen Park features a playground, picnic areas with barbecue grills, foot bridges and walking paths, horseshoes, full-court basketball, sand volleyball, a tennis court- plus some great ocean views. Glen Park is also proudly home of the City’s “Scout House” for Seaside Day Campers (ages 5-12) to enjoy all summer and during school breaks.
There are meandering walking paths that connect from the parking lot to different areas of the park. There is a lot to enjoy at Glen Park. With an old park, you get some great big trees. You’ll find a grove of Canary Island Date Palms, large Eucalyptus and Indian Laurel Fig trees. As part of Seaside Day Camp, campers plant and maintain an organic vegetable garden next to the building and there is a small organic fruit tree grove east of the garden.
Glen Park is organically managed under the City of Encinitas Organically Managed Park Pilot Project. The intent of this project is to introduce organic land stewardship practices designed to effectively manage landscape maintenance and employ Integrated Pest Management practices with an organic approach.
Glen Park is a great place to get out for some quick exercise with a few laps along the paths, since the park has plenty of hills. With easy parking, restrooms, plenty of shade and lots to do, it also makes for a great place to spend some time exploring with little ones
Now get out there and enjoy! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife. To find out more about Seaside Day Camp, visit www.EncinitasParksandRec.com
February 22 - Encinitas Town Center Hike
This week, we bring you a great little hike that starts and finishes at the Encinitas Ranch Town Center (Target shopping center), close to shopping and restaurants, so you can get in an errand or two and have a post-hike bike to eat or refreshments. Also, staging at Leo Mullen Sports Park, means you’ve got restrooms, a playground and plenty of room to stretch, warm-up or picnic. The hike route is 1.4 miles out and back, but don’t let the short distance fool you. You’ll earn every bit of the distance as the trail gains elevation from the start point up to the ridge line trail where sweeping views of Encinitas and the local mountains await (in one Parks and Recreation staff person’s opinion, the coolest views in all of Encinitas).
The route begins along the sidewalk heading uphill from Leo Mullen Sports Park at 951 Via Cantebria, then crosses the road to continue uphill towards Gardenview Drive. Along Gardenview, 100 feet to the north, you’ll cross the street at the pedestrian sign (use caution when crossing) then the trail will start climbing quickly. The surface of the trail can be tricky with some ruts this time of year after heavy rains, but is mostly sandy, and not muddy. Continue uphill at any junction and you will reach the Encinitas Ranch ridgeline trail. Once there, take in the awesome views and explore a bit before heading back.
As of this week, the foliage is as green and lush as it ever gets and many of the flowering plants are in bloom, with beautiful blues and purples. The sandstone bluffs bright up a deep orange when the sun is out. As cool looking as the bluffs are, please stay on the trail and out of closed areas for your safety. Also, as a reminder, while dogs make great hiking companions, on Encinitas Trails, they must stay on leash at all times.
Now get out there and enjoy! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
February 15 - Explore Downtown Encinitas
It's Walk Wednesday, and as much as we’d love to have you hiking our trails, putting your feet in the sand or exploring open spaces, with the muddy conditions we have and the stormy weather on the way, we encourage you to get out and explore downtown Encinitas.
Our recommendation is to park at any of the public parking lots around Vulcan and E Street and start by taking a stroll through the Encinitas Station Certified Farmer’s Market, which happens every Wednesday evening downtown on Vulcan Avenue. The Farmer’s Market features local produce, local artisanal vendors and delicious snacks. Grab something fresh to fuel you, then head out from there.
While there’s no wrong way to stroll the downtown area around Highway 101, a good plan is to pick either side of the Coast Highway and make a loop, heading south to Swami’s and heading back north to the Encinitas sign and La Paloma Theater. Be on the lookout for public art, that seems to be everywhere, in addition to amazing murals (especially in the alley between Coast Highway and 2nd St behind the 7-11 at D Street. There’s always something new to see downtown, and of course plenty of shopping and dining options.
Of course, the ocean’s only a couple of blocks away, and the City of Encinitas has THE BEST viewpoints and overlooks (C St., D St., H St., I St. and J St). Go check one out, you’ll be glad you did.
February 8 - Indian Head Canyon
It's Walk Wednesday, and tucked away in the eastern part of lovely Leucadia you’ll find some amazing views and trails at Indian Head Canyon. Indian Head Canyon is a natural open space area packed full of approximately 6.5 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails, ranging from steep single track, to wide open double track paths. Enjoy the shade alongside a creek or work up a sweat hiking to the top of the trail area. Many of the trails have a relatively even surface, so any level of adventurer can experience this special place.
There are plenty of trails to check out within the area, but our recommendation is to take the main wide, double-track path away from the kiosk and loop counter-clockwise around the back of the main hill. As you climb higher and higher, notice the lush greenery helped by our recent winter rains. The higher you go, the more spectacular the views become. Once you reach the top and catch your breath, take some time to explore the various looping trails and interesting land forms. Looking north, you can see the Batiquitos Lagoon, and looking west you can see the Pacific ocean on a clear day. Returning to the start on the same trails will total approximately 2 miles, but you can add plenty more mileage by exploring around.
To get to Indian Head Canyon, just head north from Leucadia Blvd, or south from La Costa Avenue onto Saxony Road, then turn on to Quail Hollow Drive and park along the curb.
Please exercise courtesy and share the trails with other users. Also, as a reminder, while dogs make great hiking companions, on Encinitas Trails, they must stay on leash at all times.
Get out there and enjoy! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
February 1- Moonlight Beach Power Walk
It’s Walk Wednesday and beach weather is back! This week, Encinitas' Arts Administrator Jim Gilliam shares his lunchtime “Moonlight Beach Power Walk,” covering coastal downtown to Stone Steps and back.
Jim says "From City Hall at Vulcan Ave and D St, I head to the end of D Street, down the steps, and walk north toward Leucadia, starting my warm up. Once I’m past Moonlight, I step up the pace and start churning into the sand, walking at a brisk pace. I know I have reached an aerobic state based on my heart rate. Once I reach Stone Steps, I walk the stairs to the top and back down, then begin my trip back. The walk takes me 45 minutes and is a terrific workout. Walking on the sand is a double workout—you expend much more energy walking on sand and can work up quite a sweat. As you’re walking, it’s fun to gauge the tide. You’re either avoiding all the pebbles at low tide or avoiding the water and hugging the cliff at high tide. It’s also fun to check out the homes high atop the cliff on Neptune or to look at the kelp and seaweed that has washed up on the beach. There’s always something cool to see as things change from day to day. A recommendation: when power walking, lift your hands, make fists and pump your elbows all the way back to your waist. This works your upper body and you will notice a flatter stomach after a few months. Trust me, it works!
A few great tips on this walk: 1) You can start or finish it from the Encinitas Civic Center, the Encinitas Library or Viewpoint Park, all within the same block. The park provides a great place to do some warm up and cool down exercises and you can also stop by City Hall and the Library to check out local artwork always on display. 2) Moonlight Beach is a nice in-between spot to take a break, rinse off your feet, get a snack or use the facilities. 3) Grab a smoothie or a snack downtown for post-workout recovery.
Get out there and enjoy! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas#EncinitasLife.
January 25, 2017- Encinitas Community Park
It's another Walk Wednesday! For this week, given that many of our dirt and clay surface trails are still very wet and soggy, we’re keeping it on hard surfaces at Encinitas Community Park. Since Encinitas Community Park opened, people have used it as their go-to stroll or power-walk place. We wanted to put together a nice 1-mile loop course at the park and our awesome staff in the GIS Mapping Department just created a cool map that shows the route and quarter-mile markers.
The walk itself is along wide pathways within the park, which is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. After the sun sets, the park still has security lighting on until 10pm, making this walk doable year-round in the evenings. The route we’re recommending is just over 1 mile from start to finish as an out-and-back loop. Along the way, here are some cool things that you’re almost always guaranteed to see:
• Happy dogs on their way to and from the dog park
• Happy kids having a ball at the playground, going skateboarding and playing sports
• Hundreds of trees and thousands of plants, including Torrey Pines and Aloe plants
• A meandering creek which was built as a bio-swale to naturally filter storm water runoff
• Paver bricks with fun and interesting quotes and messages
On a clear day, you can also catch a glimpse of the ocean when at the south end of the park. This is a great walk to put in your health and wellness routine, since it’s easy to access, there are plenty of people to see, and there are restrooms both at the start, halfway point and finish. To get to this route, access Encinitas Community Park from the Santa Fe Drive entrance at 425 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas. When you enter the park, head to the parking area straight ahead, closest to the dog park entrance. As Encinitas Magazine once said, “Encinitas Community Park is 44 Acres of Awesome.” We agree! Pack a picnic and make a day of it while you’re there.
Get out there and enjoy! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
January 18, 2017 - Swami's
It's Walk Wednesday! For this week, given that many of our dirt and clay surface trails are still wet and soggy, and with more wet weather on the way, a great walk is from Swami’s south to the Cardiff Kook and back, easily one of Encinitas most popular stretches. With brisk, clear weather, the views of the surf and sky are ideal.
The walk itself is all along wide asphalt sidewalks with nice separation from cars on the Coast Highway. Round-trip from Swami’s to the Cardiff Kook is just shy of 2.5 miles, making it a great training route for 5K run/walk events. Do be sure to keep your eyes up and stay alert, since there are usually plenty of runners and dog walkers along this walk. For an interesting twist, check the tides and cover this same stretch on the beach, using the Swami’s stairs and campground stairs for some extra calories burned!
The City of Encinitas has proudly maintained and operated Swami’s Beach and Park, one of Encinitas’ most iconic spots and among its most popular beach accesses since shortly after Encinitas incorporated as a City in 1986. Did you know that Encinitas Lifeguards are responsible for Encinitas’ beaches all the way from Grandview Beach at the north end of town, to just south of Swami’s Beach? Just north of the vehicle access at the north end of Cardiff campgrounds is where California State Park Lifeguards take over, managing and guarding the beaches from that point south to Solana Beach City limits near Seaside Reef.
Curb parking is usually available near Swami’s, on K Street, or park on the east side of the railroad tracks and use the awesome pedestrian underpass to easily get you under the tracks and to the crosswalk at Highway 101. The nice thing about this walk is that you have restrooms at both ends (Swami’s park and Cardiff State Beach campgrounds), and the grassy lawn at Swami’s park is a great place to warmup and stretch pre and post walk.
Get out there and enjoy! Share your experience with hashtags #WalkWednesday, #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
January 11, 2017 - Encinitas Ranch Trails
We're calling it "Walk Wednesdays." On Wednesdays, we'll post some of our Parks and Rec Department's favorite walks and hikes in Encinitas, and we'd love to hear about your own!
For today, given that it’s wet and soggy, our tip is that it’s best to stay off of wet trails in rainy conditions and to generally avoid clay-based surfaces. A good rule of thumb that if it sticks to your shoe/boot, stay off to avoid damaging trail surfaces and from slipping around making a giant mess!
Today's pick is the Encinitas Ranch trails. A good way to access a fun route is to park at Las Verdes park, located off of Quail Gardens Drive, north of Encinitas Blvd. Across the street from the park, spot the trailhead marker, then head counterclockwise heading north along the ridgeline then around and through Encinitas Ranch to complete an almost 5K loop back to where you began.
We like this route for its unobstructed views to the east of the mountains. As the route leaves the ridgeline, you get a nice look at the Encinitas Ranch golf course and a return section that gives a nice look at what’s happening over at the Encinitas Community Garden.For a brief summary of how Encinitas Ranch, and the approximate 9.5 miles of recreational trails which it includes came to be, check out this easy read from 2010. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-all-paths-lead-to-a-view-at-encinitas-ranch-2010aug01-htmlstory.html
Also, a reminder that while dogs make great hiking companions, on Encinitas Trails, they must stay on leash at all times. Enjoy! #ExploreEncinitas #EncinitasLife
For more information about Walk Wednesdays, email the City of Encinitas Parks and Recreation Department's Special Project Supervisor, Nick Buck here, or call the Parks and Recreation Department office at 760-633-2740.